What’s Next For The World Famous Gili Islands?

What’s Next For The World Famous Gili Islands?

Characterised by turquoise water and white sandy beaches fringed with palm trees, the Gili Islands are some of the most picturesque and idyllic islands in Indonesia and are the region’s leading tourist destination. As the pull of the Islands continues to draw a more affluent demographic, the Islands are reacting by building higher quality accommodation and more upmarket restaurants and bars.

The Indonesian government is keen to promote tourism in the area and foreign and domestic investors are being enticed by the growing number of opportunities. We spoke with BASK’s CEO Greg Meyer and Bill Barnett of C9 Hotelworks to see why now is the time for the Gilis to shine and how it is leading the charge in delivering an upmarket resort unlike anything seen before.

How has the tourism industry changed over the years on the Gilis and why?

“Gili Islands much like Thailand’s Koh Samui started out as a backpacker’s destination, it is rapidly evolving into a luxury getaway destination while still retaining their authentic nature,” commented Bill.

In recent years, access to the Gili Islands has improved greatly and this is one of the primary reasons the Gilis’ real estate market is so sought-after. You can cross the waters directly from Bali in 90 minutes and it takes only 10 minutes to travel the 1.5 nautical miles from Lombok. With more direct flights to Lombok, transport has been a catalyst for growth in tourism in recent years as visitors shift from Bali to the Gilis and Lombok to escape the rapid pace of day-to-day life.

How have building standards on the Gilis changed over the years to reflect the demands of tourist and investors?

Despite a number of new developments and the rebuilding of existing structures on Gili Islands, industry experts, such as Bill Barnett, are confident these long-time escapes will maintain their relaxed character. With the increase in land prices in recent years, new projects are generally small and upmarket and aimed at the affluent Asian, Australian and European visitors.

Building standards have improved to reflect the demand for luxury getaways. Formally, building on the Gilis didn’t have to comply to particular standards which, although this allowed for the authentic and traditional landscape of the Gilis, it has led to sub-standard construction which can no longer meet the demands of visitors, investors and regulators.

In recent years, building standards have been improved and new developments are required to meet the Indonesian standards to protect against seismic activity.

What has BASK done to ensure it meets/exceeds expectations?

Based on smaller-sized properties, BASK is retaining the boutique nature of the Gilis while incorporating a premium product.

Greg commented; “I was always very clear that the development should offer understated elegance. I wanted visitors to be enveloped and immersed by Gili Meno’s beautiful surroundings.”

“The development combines the laid-back style of mid-century modern architecture with a tropical aesthetic and features strong eco credentials and sustainable materials.”

BASK is being built to a high international building specification and uses certified timber and incorporates local sustainable materials wherever possible. To find out more about the construction at BASK Gili Meno read our interview with lead engineer, Andre Vreugdenburg here.

What can owners and guests expect when BASK opens?

BASK is scheduled to open in 2020 and will be on the new frontier for tropical escape, fusing world-class design and culture with laidback island ease. A marriage of streamlined contemporary polish and traditional island ease, interiors will combine a rich interplay of textures and materials against a neutral palette.

While also offering sanctuary and seclusion to owners and guests, BASK is acutely aware of its environmental and ecological responsibilities; and sustainability is at centre of all aspects of the development.

As tourism continues to grow on the Gilis, it has been recognised that there is an ever growing need to practice sustainable tourism in order to preserve the Islands’ natural beauty. With the region set to lead the way in Green Sustainable Tourism, the Gili Islands are already implementing eco-friendly, sustainable processes in order to ensure the environment, that is vital to Gili Islands tourism industry, is maintained.


How have the natural surroundings and culture influenced the design of BASK Gili Meno?

BASK is devoted to nurturing and preserving its pristine setting. Throughout the construction process, materials have been carefully selected and sustainable materials have been used where possible.  

The turquoise blue sea and the glistening beach also played a significant role in the design, as CEO Greg Meyer stated “I wanted visitors to open floor-to-ceiling doors and be part of the beautiful surroundings. Lattice wood screens, retractable glass walls and an indoor-outdoor configuration will immerse guests in views of the surrounding beauty while making the most of coastal breezes and Gili Meno’s balmy year-round weather. The landscaping around the villas incorporates what’s found within the island while allowing for sleek design and privacy.”

What sustainable measures will BASK implement in order to preserve and protect the Island?

BASK has not shied away from its responsibility, situated in one of the most ecologically rich islands in the world, BASK is devoted to nurturing and preserving its pristine setting. In 2017 BASK installed BASK Nest as part of the Islands’ reef rejuvenation scheme.  In addition to enhancing the diving and snorkelling experience for the islands’ tourists, it is contributing to safeguarding Gili Meno’s fragile ecosystem becoming home to corals, sponges and diverse fish species.

BASK will also implement a strict waste management scheme. From wetland sewage treatment and environmentally conscious recycling processes to food waste management, no aspect is being ignored. There will be an extensive permaculture program providing for the resort’s vegetable needs, along with a wetland sewage treatment process and rainwater harvesting program, resulting in pure fresh water flowing to a fresh fish farm within the resort.

The resort will only use glass bottles; producing its own drinking water on-site and will have a ban on all plastic where practical. In addition, a barge will be used to take hard waste to the mainland, where it will be responsibly disposed of.

The resort will also establish the Keep Gili Clean Committee. It will aim to monitor and maintain ecological integrity by collaborating with local authorities in making key conservation decisions for the island, ensuring the pristine nature of this idyllic location is preserved.